Smart Cities – The Drivers of Economic Growth and Social Capital
As the world is moving at a fast pace in the realm of technology and innovation, the real estate sector is also making headway and uncoiling new potentials in technological dominion. The urban centres are being developed at a rapid pace around the globe, deploying new policies and modern tools, because of the intensifying advancement in the services sector due to globalization.
According to an article published in 2019 by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, it’s projected that by 2050 more than two-thirds of the world population will live in urban areas. In this context of the rapid transformation of urban centres, social challenges including poverty, rural to urban migration, lack of inclusion remains at the forefront and offsets the dividends of urbanization. Moreover, according to the estimates present at the United Nations (UN) website, 90% of expansion will happen in the urban centres of the developing countries in future.
Making cities sustainable refers to constructing resilient societies. It involves investment in the development of modern infrastructure. UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) advocates for developing sustainable cities and communities. As an extension of this goal, the word ‘Smart City’ demonstrates implemented policies of the economies around the world that have been piloting various projects on the concept of ‘smart city. It is estimated that by 2050, the 6.5 billion population will be urbanized; this fact also states that social challenges will be unprecedented and can accelerate a range of conditions related to climate change, rural, urban divide and poverty and hunger. Furthermore, with the implementation of inclusive policies and putting social issues as vital in the real estate plans, the development can be achieved in real terms.
Discipline of ‘Smart Cities’
‘Smart Cities’; it is obvious by the terminology that the concept refers to the adaptation of smart endeavours in the development of cities. ‘Smart cities’ itself is a combination of incorporating technology-intensive tactics in the expansion of cities and everyday modes of operation of the urban centres. Superficially, the classification of smart cities is professed to be tapered and only pertains to the incorporation of technology. However, the concept of smart cities is itself a discipline. It varies from country to country, and every state has implemented a definition based on its agenda of progress and the scope of its policy.
The most comprehensive definition can be stated as:
Incorporation of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) in the expansion of new or present cities to solve the urban problems, create new economic opportunities without hindering the social development, and improvement of cities that are planned on environment-friendly practices. In other words, by incorporating smart technologies being the solution to the evolving problems along with social, environmental and economic development, accomplishing sustainable development and cities. Innumerable examples of smart cities around the world exhibit that economies have incorporated major constituents of infrastructure with (ICT) and have achieved smart infrastructures such as smart administration, smart economy, smart environment, smart transport, smart health and smart education.
In the future, the key to turning smart cities into reality is inclusion with maximum investigating of data of urban centres. The World Development report of 2016 has stated inclusion, efficiency, and innovation as a substratum of smart cities.
Inclusion: means recording the feedback of the people living in urban areas. Similarly, integrating community requirements, environmental risks and establishing a network using technology to amplify civic contribution to counter the potential requirements leading to inclusion.
Efficiency: as described by the World Development report of 2016 refers to the data collecting and then building the strategy based on gathered data. The ICT around the major cities is helping in the collection of data through cameras, sensors and other erudite techniques.
Innovation: The World Bank (WB) describes innovation as linking the synergies of several stakeholders at the macro level. Furthermore, public-private partnerships for developing inclusive smart strategies is also an important facet of innovation.
As stated earlier, the meaning of smart cities is embraced by every economy based on its urban policy and town development. Below are the few practices that have been implemented and conducted by the major cities under smart cities projects.
Technology and Urban Mobility
For solving the issues pertaining to traffic and the daily commute, technology is being adopted globally. Under the domain of smart cities, technology is renovating the processes of transport and solving the issues concerning traffic jams and efficient administration of transport. Environment friendly-electrical buses are swapping the old buses which share a major percentage of the carbon emissions.
In this context, the example of Seoul city is a success story which through the implementation of Bus Management System (BMS), GPS, and Intelligent Transport System (ITS) is handling its transport system. The control system of BMS collects the information and accumulates it to passengers, bus stops through mobile applications and the internet. This results in well-organized transport management by utilizing the apt amount of resources.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Since technology-intensive tactics are at the forefront of smart cities and disruptive technologies are unravelling new prospects the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) is also marking modifications in the mode of living.
The households have integrated IoT to the best of their use in organizing the daily processes of the house. From water management to supervision the security of houses everything is simplified to handheld devices by connecting them with the internet.
Solid Waste Management
States across the world have employed their solid waste management techniques to meet the energy requirements thus escaping the issues of landfills and land pollution.
Countries around the world use furnaces to burn the leftover, the steam generated from the burning is consumed as energy for the generators in the production of electricity. Hence, trash is being used to swap fossil fuels for the production of electricity.
Similarly, mobile apps are also being advanced to locate smart waste disposals, which are an important intermediate for waste sorting. Waste sorting is used to segregate different types of wastes.
Smart Cities Harnessing E-governance
Smart cities are also becoming an apparatus for harnessing e-governance. Governments around the world have undertaken endeavours to involve people in the policymaking process. The governments have established online portals for service delivery, civic contribution, and access to government services.
The gap between government and institutions can be shortened using technology, and smart cities provide a suitable platform. Moreover, emerging urban, social and environmental issues can be directly communicated to the government.
Smart Cities – Mitigating Natural Calamities
Since the notion of smart cities includes technology-intensive techniques, technology is being employed to foresee natural catastrophes and to tackle their distressing impact. Technology in this dominion is assisting municipalities to cultivate smart emergency systems and ICT is helping to design counter-measures.
Graana.com and PropTech
It is a fact that the conversion to smart cities is difficult without the revolution of the real estate sector. In this dominion, Graana.com being the pioneers of PropTech in Pakistan is paving the path for accomplishing a smart eco-system that will ultimately lead to the development of smart cities.
Graana.com being Pakistan’s first online real estate marketplace is introducing the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). The online property portal of Graana.com has abridged the physical distances to the digital front, and the information pertaining to the real estate sector is accessible at one tap away from mobiles. Moreover, the option of verified listings has provided a new meaning to the brokerage of the real estate sector; the buyers and sellers can have smooth business discussions.
Similarly, through its PropSure solutions, Graana is inculcating practices pertaining to quality control, and effective estate management.